Friday, June 29, 2012

It's Magic Mike Day/Letters

Dear Magic Mike – I am renaming you to Magic Matt because, let’s be honest, I am going to see this movie for my man Matt Bomer. I will probably miss half of the movie because of either a) I will be freaking out or b) I won’t be watching/listening to Channing Tatum because I will be too busy watching Matt in the background. It’s too bad I won’t be able to pause/rewind/slow-mo the movie… yet. Check for a follow-up post/review soon!


Dear Bloggy Friends – Have I told you lately that I love you? Because I do. A lot. I had another first blate last night with Shannon and I just love her already! So, whether I’ve met you in real life or chat with you every day via email/social media, you brighten my life. And I mean that in the least corny way possible. I feel like I can trust and rely on so many of you… more than many people I’ve known for years. I think that says a lot about the caliber of people in this blogging community. And knowing that there are still so many of you out there to meet, sure makes me happy :)

Dear New Car – I’m so happy to welcome you into my life. After seven years with my last car, you’re new and exciting [and smell really nice too] I promise to take care of you and park as far away as I have to in order to stay away from all the crazy door-hitting parkers of the DC area. I just know we’ll be making lots of great memories together.

Dear Real Housewives of Orange County – I know that I’ve written a letter to you recently but I have to write another. I guess that goes to show you how much I like you. And I know I’m about to really go out on a limb and sound slightly crazy, but this past season I saw a lot of parallels with my own life. I’m sad that the season has come to an end. My weeks will be missing something now. What am I supposed to think – will Vicki & Tamra ever be friends again? Will Gretchen & Slade get married? Will they replace Alexis? Will Heather continue to make me want to be her? Sigh.

Dear Acting Class – I can’t wait for you! Week #2 is going to rock. I just know it. I’ll be running through my lines every chance I get until tomorrow morning. I plan to soak up every bit of knowledge that I can from you. As I’ve already mentioned, you make me come alive and that’s one of the greatest feelings I know!

Love Always,

P.S. Raise your hand if you're going to see Magic Mike Matt this weekend, too!

Oh, and don't forget to enter the giveaway for one of my After Sunset bracelets over on Julie’s blog, The Girl in the Red Shoes :) Only a couple days left!

Now, go link up with Ashley!


Thursday, June 28, 2012

Casting for Ana Steele

It has been far too long since there’s been any mention of Fifty Shades of Grey on this blog! I have finished all three books now and have those same withdrawals that so many of you have spoken of. Sigh. I absolutely love all the feedback I am still getting on my Casting for Christian Grey post! The thing is, I wrote that post when I was only on Book One so I hadn’t really truly seen the full spectrum and all 50 shades of our leading man, Mr. Grey. Which means,  a follow-up post is in the works!

Today, however, we are talking about Anastasia Steele. Now, let me start off by saying that I already feel as though this film is going to be tough – especially for the screenwriter. I have no idea just how much of the books [as far as scenes go] they will have to remove. I know this scares many of us readers because we obviously want the film to do justice to the books. I’m also nervous to find out who ends up getting cast as Christian and Ana. It could really make or break it for me [and I’m sure I’m not the only one.]

That said, I have one person in mind for Ana. That’s it – just one. I thought of her at the beginning and even after reading all three books, she’s still the one I choose. I’ve perused the articles, blog posts, and pins on Pinterest about who everyone wants to play Ana and there are some good suggestions. Here is mine:

Since the books are written in Ana’s perspective, I thought it would be best to stick with someone who is relatable; someone you could see yourself just going out to lunch with. Because to me, that’s the kind of girl Ana was in the books – just your somewhat typical, girl-next-door.

So, for that reason, I’d choose Jessica Stroup. I’d also choose her because of how much she matches the physical description of Ana. Brunette, big, blue eyes, full bottom lip [without being overly full], slender, soft, light skin.

Aside from looks, I think she definitely has what it takes from an acting standpoint as well. I think she has a great range - from being awkward and funny to stubborn and confident or vulnerable and kind-hearted. She'd make an amazing Ana. Plus, she's not super well-known for one role in particular which I think would work out well in her favor.

So, I vote Jessica Stroup for Anastasia Steele!

Now, let's open up the can of worms :)
Who do YOU want to play Anastasia Steele?

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

A New Set of Wheels

I mentioned earlier that this past weekend was one of the best weekends ever. Another thing that made it so special and wonderful – I bought a car! For quite some time now, I had been telling myself I should start looking around. I had my car for seven years and while it still functioned perfectly, it was time for something new. Here’s the story of how it all came about:

I had pretty much already made up my mind that I would never buy a brand new car. I figured it was just silly to since the value of the car is said to plummet as soon as you drive it off the lot. So, I started looking online at a few cars that were only a couple years old to get a ballpark idea of what they were going for. I knew I wanted a Honda Accord Coupe – that was a definite. I used to drive a Civic and don’t have one complaint about the car, the service, the maintenance, etc. Everything was so affordable and dependable compared to the Ford I drove in high school.

I decided that on Saturday, after acting class, I’d run by a dealer or two to test drive the 2012 Accord to get an idea of how to compare it to the slightly older models. Upon arriving at the dealer, a salesman anxiously greeted us, and the process began. We started off with the basics so I told him the car that I was looking at, the number of doors I wanted [2] and that a sunroof was a necessity [obviously.]

Well, they only had about 3 or 4 Accord coupes on the lot. The only red Accord was an LX [no sunroof] so that wasn’t an option. The only EX [one step up] was black and that color was not an option for me. Then, he mentioned the grey Accord. Sigh.

This grey one was the EX-L model meaning it was pretty much the top of the line Accord –leather seats, XM Radio, Bluetooth capabilities, etc. As a pretty practical gal when it comes to spending money, I knew I didn’t need those things. I decided to take it for a spin anyway. With only 5 miles on it, this car was literally fresh out of the factory. It was gorgeous from the outside, the interior was fresh and pretty spacious compared to my Civic, and it drove like a champ. It was love.

After that, I test drove the new Civic coupe but my mind had already been made up – I wanted an Accord. At that point, the question was “What do I do now?” The sales manager told me they had another red Accord getting ready to come in but it was an LX-S [again, no sunroof. Not happening.] I took a look inside the black EX model with the cloth interior and liked that one as well but they didn’t have it in an exterior color I wanted. I could either keep looking around, wait for them to get additional shipments in, start looking at used cars, or see what kind of deal I could get on the EX-L.

Let’s just say I can’t pass up a good bargain. 

I had been sitting there at the salesman’s desk hours before going back and forth in my head about whether to buy, wait, grey, or red and then it just hit me! I knew what I wanted and what I didn’t want. I had an amazingly unbelievable deal laid out right before me. AND the interest rates were below 1%. NOW was the time to buy. Five hours later, the paperwork was signed, and I was the proud owner of a brand spankin’ new metallic grey Honda Accord EX-L!

Signing my life away! ;)

It feels so good to see something perfectly fall into place like that. I’m grateful for the opportunities I’ve had to save up money and be in a financial position where I am able to take this on at this point in my life. As a follow up to yesterday's post, I've learned that if you want something, go after it. Don't put it off. Seize the day!

Oh, and you better believe I’ll be treating my new car like a baby!

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

What Makes Me Come Alive

First of all, let me start off by letting you know that Julie over at The Girl in the Red Shoes is hosting a giveaway where you'll have another chance to win any one of my bracelets from After Sunset! Head on over there to say "hi" and start entering :)

This weekend was one of the best I’ve ever had. Ever. It has proven to me that sunny days will follow the days of heavy rain. When we are patient, try hard, and never give up on what we want and truly believe in, those things will come.

I was very nervous going into this weekend for one main reason – I had signed up for an acting class in DC. Don’t get me wrong, I love to act and always have but I had been out of it for a few years and had no idea what to expect of this class.

I was nervous about little things – what were the other people in the class going to be like? How to get there. How to find the class. And let me tell you – by the end of the day, finding the room number was the most nerve-wracking part of it all. As soon as I walked into the room, I was set. I was ready to learn, ready to act, ready to humiliate myself [because that’s a part of learning AND acting!]

I said “good morning” to the instructor who has been a professional in the industry for a while, found a seat in the middle of the semi-circle, filled out my info sheet, and anxiously awaited the start time of the class. As each minute passed, I felt more and more excited and more and more at home. Class started and we were “interviewed” one-by-one before moving onto a commercial.

It was in those moments of reading the script, figuring out the character, getting up in front of the camera, and becoming this girl Sally that I felt a passion and happiness unlike anything else before. Acting has always been that for me. It’s like there’s a little piece of my soul buried deep in there that nothing else has the power to reach except those moments when I’m living in a world that’s not quite my own. When I have to make myself vulnerable in order to find within me this new character so I can become it. It’s a constant challenge. Every time you run through that script, it could be better, worse, you could have lost touch with your character, or hit it spot on. 

I didn’t want the class to end. I could have stayed there all day. Heck, I could have stayed there all day every day. I love it. I live for it. And I can’t even put into words how GOOD and RIGHT it feels to be back in acting.

So, at the end of the day, never give up on the things that make you come alive. No matter what obstacles may make their way into your life – fight them, because what’s on the other side is usually SO worth it. Listen to your heart, follow your passion. Go after the things that MAKE you want to do the BEST. Work harder than you’ve ever worked before for the things you love the most.

What makes you come alive?

Monday, June 25, 2012

Happy Birthday, Mom

I'm back in blogging action. Upon returning from the beach for work, life was hectic to say the least. I have exciting news to share later this week which some of you may already know about. But before that, there are many other things to catch you up on!

Most importantly - yesterday was my Mom's birthday. Since she passed away in February, I knew June 24th was going to be a different day. How do you celebrate the birthday of someone who has died?

As of late, I have really been noticing the stars starting to align themselves and I have a feeling my Mom has something to do with it. That brought me so much comfort as we reached her "special day." I know she is still a part of us and that she is in tune with the events that occur in our lives.

I posted something yesterday on Facebook that I also wanted to share here:
"To the woman who taught me everything I know - How to sit like a lady, how to eat crabs, how to not be stolen by strangers when they say they're looking for their lost dog, how to mend a broken heart, and how to live life to the fullest - I miss you everyday. Happy Birthday, Mommy. Sending a hug up to Heaven."

She really did teach me everything. Whether through our talks, emails, books she'd get me, or through her brave example - she prepared me for life. I'm still learning of our similarities and realizing things I do that she would have done... like wearing our big [and similar looking] sunglasses :)

When we visited my Mom at the cemetery yesterday, it was extra special because it was her special day. I told her how much we all missed her. My mom's best friend had sent us all the sweetest cards earlier this week and she reminded us of the little blessings and miracles that would be finding their way into our lives. It warmed my heart to know that.
Neighbors/close friends of my parents' gave us a card as well as a beautiful bouquet to place at her grave.

She was so loved.
She still is.
It humbles me to see how many lives she touched. 

No matter how many days and birthdays may have passed, my mom continued to be the little firecracker that she was. And if you knew my Mom, I'm sure you're shaking your head 
and letting out a small chuckle :)

[the last picture taken of her here on Earth]

Although she was far too young to die, the angels took her in their arms because her time here in this lifetime was complete. She had done all that she needed to do. The Lord was ready for her. Age is nothing but a number. Don't count the years, count the life in those years.

What a life she lived.
I love you, Mom. I hope your birthday in Heaven was more beautiful than we will ever understand.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

A Vegas Goodbye

Now, here's the last of Vegas. [Find the first two recaps here and here.] Also, I'm being featured today on Hollie's blog. You'll be sure to learn a thing or two about me so head on over there, too :)

Back to the recap. Since the Neon Boneyard had been such an unexpected disappointment, luckily, I had planned out another [and final] fun day for us. Thanks to my go-to Vegas girl Katy, I heard about the Shark Tank pool at the Golden Nugget and HAD to go! I have absolutely zero desire to ever swim with sharks, pet a shark, etc. so I really have no idea why this appealed to me so much. Maybe because it’s AWESOME? How many times can you say you’ve gone down a slide that went straight through a shark tank?!

So, we woke up and headed downtown to the Golden Nugget. If you’re not a hotel guest, it costs $20 a pop to get in. It probably would have been worth it if we could have stayed all day, but we were only there for 2 hours or so. The chaise lounges are super comfy, but limited. So, the earlier you get there, the more prime real estate you can get.

Soon after arriving, we were headed for the shark tank! We climbed the stairs and off we went, down the slide! The slide is enclosed and yellow but toward the end, everything goes kind of dark until you’re hurled into the pool. I didn’t realize it the first time going down, but the dark area is the shark tank! It happens so fast you can’t really see anything but it’s still fun! Now, this shark tank is smack dab in the middle of the pool. So, not only can you see all the colorful fish and big sharks through the glass, but you can watch other people go down the slide!

Another cool touch the pool had were the chaise lounges in the water! There’s a very shallow section of water with about a dozen white chairs in it, allowing you to lie out in the sun while also feeling the refreshing cool water!

The rest of the day progressively went downhill. I started realizing that all the hopes I had had for this being a refreshing trip of growth and togetherness were being put out by reality. The reality was, I saw the same man I had left eight months earlier in Utah. I was so afraid to admit it to myself – that he hadn’t changed, that I was still so unhappy with the way he treated me; the way he treated life. As the hours of our last full day together passed, that reality crept in. It was a painful, heart-wrenching blow to see that after all this time, and all the hope I had in my heart, I still had made the right decision to end our marriage.  Everyone wants to believe in love. Everyone wants to see the good – to see two people work hard at repairing something that had been shattered. I wanted SO badly to believe that that could happen. But it didn't.

Later on, we headed off to dinner at The Hard Rock Hotel followed by an evening on Fremont Street. The Fremont Street Experience is a must! I had wanted to visit this place for so long. The canopy that hangs above the street is the largest LED screen in the world! Every 15 minutes or so, a new “show” starts and everything around you stops as everyone looks up to watch and listen to a medley of music from artists such as Bon Jovi and Queen.

Then, once the show is over and the lights come back up, all the street performers start up again. But these street performers are the real deal – unlike the trash you’ll see on The Strip. There was an Al Pacino impersonator, Ozzy Osbourne, Stevie Wonder. You name it, they were there and they were GOOD! There are amazing street artists, saxophonists, and concerts going on all simultaneously. Quite the “Experience!” Has anyone ever done the zipline down Fremont? Is it worth it?

After a while, we left and went for a drive, although the time was filled mainly with silence. My eyes felt like they were constantly welled with tears as the reality finally sunk in for good. This was it. I could have listed a hundred different ways that he continued to hurt me and be so careless with my heart. But that was it. Through the loss of my mom and the end of my marriage, I learned something important: Sometimes time changes nothing at all.

I packed my bag that next morning, with this feeling in my gut that I couldn’t ignore. This was really it. No matter how many times he told me we’d continue to see where things went, it’s like my heart already knew this was the last chapter. I sat and waited as he showered and packed, checking my watch as time sped past. I had a flight to catch but that didn’t seem to phase him as he went along his merry way. For the first time ever in my life, I missed my flight. We had arrived at the airport too late for me to check in. He, of course, still managed to make his flight back to the city where we once lived together. After I hurriedly figured out a new flight leaving an hour later, we walked toward Security. We kissed, said, “I love you” and just like that… I knew that would be our final goodbye.

Goodbye, Vegas. Goodbye, love.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

April in Vegas [Part Two]

It’s time for recap #2 of my trip to Vegas in April [you can catch part one here!] I feel like we probably spent 50-60% of our time in Vegas at the Venetian/The Palazzo. That’s definitely what these pictures hint at, at least! These pictures would also hint at the fact that I was hardly ever the one actually holding my camera throughout this trip as 50-60% of the pictures are of me… ha.

The Venetian is one of my favorite spots on The Strip because, well, Venice is one of my favorite places that I’ve visited. I love how so much of the resort closely resembles a lot of the sights in the real town itself. The electric blue water would be one of my only complaints.

I can’t get over how quickly time passed that day. Before, I knew it, we were headed back to Henderson to get ready for a double date dinner at PF Changs. Have you had dessert there? You really ought to get the Banana Spring Rolls: Crispy banana with coconut-pineapple ice cream. It’s like this dessert was created for me from Heaven. This was probably the highlight of my trip! Okay, just kidding. The sharks were…

After dinner, we took an evening drive over to the apartments I had taken a tour of the day prior [yep, that’s right. I was planning a potential move to Vegas.] Then, we headed back to The Strip. The Venetian to be specific. At the beginning of my trip, the ex had said he wanted to record a bunch of fun footage on video of us and put it together into a montage with music. So, the goal for the night was to get a lot of footage. We got A LOT. Me walking. Me walking some more. Pointing at random things. More excitement. Here’s an unedited version of what he had me doing:

The day left me exhausted with still a lot to be processed and thought about. Check back tomorrow to find out how this story ends [and to see some sharks, too.]

Where do you spend most of your time in Vegas?

Friday, June 15, 2012

Happy Early Father's Day

Sometimes holidays just don't work in your favor. This has been my first Spring and Summer back on the East Coast since 2009. Every Summer during college, I spent away on the road, traveling for dance so every Memorial Day Weekend and 4th of July were spent in places such as Wisconsin and Baltimore. Needless to say, I was really looking forward to being home with family and friends this year to catch up on all the memories I had been missing out on.

As many of you know, my mom was not here to spend Mother's Day with us. And now, this Father's Day... I'll be on the road yet again for work. Sigh. While, I was able to visit my Mom's grave on Mother's Day, and my Dad has been so understanding that I'll be traveling for work this year on his special day, it still makes me a bit sad to think about. We never know how much time we have here on Earth and making every second count is so important to me.

So, Dad - this is for you:

Thanks for always, always having my best interest in mind
Thanks for all the tools you gave me to live a successful life
Thanks for allowing me to go out on my own
Thanks for letting me make mistakes, even when you knew I was making the wrong choice
Thanks for all the wonderful trips and vacations that allowed me to see the world
Thanks for making me learn lessons the hard way
Thanks for being so smart and being so willing to help with school growing up
Thanks for the endless opportunities you gave me to dance and act and discover how much the Arts mean to me
Thanks for being patient and explaining everything to me whenever I was scared
Thanks for always being such a responsible example to us
Thanks for always believing in me
Thanks for showing me what unconditional love really is

My Dad has shown me what it means to be a father and husband. He has supported all of our dreams and goals and been there when we’ve fallen. From scraped knees to broken hearts, he’s been there for me. I hope one day I will find a husband who will be there for me too and who will be all the things for our children that my dad was for me. Looking back, the moments we shared as he walked me down the aisle are frozen in time. That's a moment every little girl dreams of. I can imagine it's not easy to give your daughter away. I know my Dad is happy to have me back again. Hopefully one day, we'll be able to share those moments down the aisle again. And it will be a time we can look back on with happiness forever.

For now, Dad... I just want you to know how grateful I am for you. You have taught me so much. You are one of a kind. A true man.

Happy Father’s Day, Daddio! I can't wait to celebrate with you once I get back into town.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

My Summer Style

Well, friends… this weekend, I’m headed to the beach! AND I’m getting paid for it :) My job has some serious perks. I’ll be working a tradeshow there which I am super excited about. There are a bunch of us going and, from what I’ve heard, there is lots of fun to be had. While I’ll be doing my best to look cute in a company polo during the day, the nights will be all about fun, summery, beach clothes! So, I wanted to tell you about two of my favorite fashions this season!

Let’s get started, shall we?

I have become quite the lover of high-low dresses and skirts. I especially love the high-low maxis that go all the way to the ground! I’ll be taking two with me for this trip [a girl has to have her options, okay?] Here are some of the looks that I’m currently adoring:

Peach/coral high-low dress. Love the belt paired with this dress!

high low skirt

Cute High Low Dress - Ivory Dress - Coral Pink Dress

I just love the texture and graceful flow of the high-low look!

Wedges are my go-to shoe for the Summer. I could live in wedges. Not even kidding. I’ll be chilling in my sandals while on my feet all day, but wedges are going to be the perfect shoe for a company dinner on the boardwalk. The kind of wedges I go for are not too tall, they’re comfy, and add just the right amount of femininity to any outfit! Here I am wearing my favorite pair:

I wear these Steve Madden wedges all the time. I love them so much that I went back to DSW [while they were on sale] and got a second pair in chocolate brown! You can find those here! I'd recommend going into your nearest DSW to see if they carry other colors because my local store had about 6 different colors! :)

I’ll do my best to take pictures throughout my trip! To follow along [and see which wedges I end up wearing] you can find me on Instagram! [@chelseasunset] I’ll try not to make you too jealous of my room with the ocean view ;)

What are your favorite Summer fashions this season? Which trends are you loving or starting? :) Do tell!

And [drumroll please]... the winner of any bracelet from my Etsy shop, After Sunset is - Holly from Running in Stilettos! Be looking for an email from me soon to discuss details :) Congratulations!!

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

House Hunters | Foyers and Entryways

I always knew I was obsessed with stairways but it wasn’t until recently that I discovered my true love and appreciation for the stairs’ wingman – the entryway/foyer. I love foyers! Foyers are so much more complex and dynamic than most people realize. They are the invitation into the home; the warm welcome; the first impression upon setting foot inside. Maybe I ought to start an interior [and exterior] design blog! :)

If you’re new here, I should also tell you about my love for HGTV’s show, House Hunters. I record it daily and have come to find some of my most favorite features and items that will be at the top of my “must-have” list one day! Until then, I have this blog to document and share my home inspirations. Every so often, I’ll have this House Hunters feature where I’ll show you ideas I love for a different section of the home. Today, it’s all about entryways and foyers. [Check out my dream kitchens here!]

While choosing the below entryways, I tried to be at least somewhat realistic for the most part. After all, I’m sure the square footage of my first home won’t be ridiculous – but hey, who knows? ;) Then again, some of these were just too pretty not to share! I realized a couple common denominators after selecting each of these pictures – light and color. I love a house full of sunlight [but also with some privacy! What would I do without window treatments?] and everyone should know by now how much I ADORE color!

Whether it’s a splash of color using accent pieces and fun furniture, or whether you paint the entire door a bright color or utilize color and patterns through wallpaper – I’ve got to have it!

Beautiful French doors, splashes of color, and the vintage archway. Not to mention, how gorgeous are the white wash floors?

Again with the arches - another common denominator I suppose! The color here was added through the wallpaper and pillows.

I tried my best to ignore the staircases, but look at this! The wrought iron with the light yellow is just so Mediterranean

I think it goes without saying that I am a huge fan of the vintage, Old Spanish architecture. It just makes me feel like I’ve stepped into a film from the 60’s. I love the charm and character of this entrance from actress, Amanda Peet’s home.

I know, I know. You think I’m crazy for posting this. Take away the mural, and honestly, I kinda like it! Mainly because turquoise is my favorite color. But seriously, how fun is that carpet going up the stairs?

I don’t love the dominant black and white for the entrance but I do love the mood that the thick striped walls and patterned carpet give off. So unique!

We’re back to the old Hollywood flair. Swoon. The French doors. The black and white tiled floors. The archways. The greenery. I am in love.

My favorite color yet again! What a fun way to add some color. Just add a little paint!

Can't say I'd personally go with green but I sure love how the color is incorporated into this space!

Old, classic Hollywood! I adore this space. And check out the beautiful stairway!

This is a great example of a smaller entryway that is still decorated wonderfully. Simple yet pretty!

If you know me, you know I posted this picture solely because of the stairs!

So, these are just some of the examples of entryways and foyers that I'd look for in my future home. Let's not forget - I'm sure these spaces didn't always look this inviting so keep your mind open if you're house hunting. All it takes is a little creativity :)

Today is the LAST day to enter my giveaway for a bracelet of your choice from my jewelry shop, After Sunset! Be sure to enter here :)